The eight titles for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014 were selected by a judging panel chaired by novelist Matt Haig, with Literary Editor of the Independent Arifa Akbar; Online Content and Social Media manager at Waterstones Greg Eden; author, journalist and publisher Sam Jordison and and Julia Wharton, Jerwood Charitable Foundation Trustee. The eight winners each receive £5,000.

Find out more: Reading Groups here / Partners 2014 here

Lolito

Ben Brooks

“Sometimes bleak, sometimes funny, and always relevant, Ben Brooks writes about the place where teenage angst, the Internet, relationships and modern family life intersect, and does so with wit, charm and one of the freshest new fiction voices in years.”

Lolito is a love story about a fifteen year-old boy who meets a middle-aged woman on the internet.

Mr Loverman

Bernardine Evaristo

“Mr Loverman lives up to his name. In Evaristo’s hands he is a funky, feisty, hugely adorable man -she takes a difficult subject and imbues it with wit, passion and honesty. I loved it and
I’d marry him… if only he would have me…”

Mr Loverman is a ground-breaking exploration of Britain’s older Caribbean community…

Little Egypt

Lesley Glaister

“It’s the gothic mess that first grabs you in Little Egypt. There are beautiful descriptions of a house going to ruin, of decades’ of detritus piling up, of lives falling apart, fragmenting and closing in. Next comes the gripping story, the tomb-shadows and the moments of shock, horror and shame. But what most lingers afterwards is tragedy: the dignified pain of the narrator and her extraordinary truce with fate. It is wonderful and moving storytelling.”

The Dig

Cynan Jones

“The Dig is astounding. It is one of the most powerful novels I have read in a very long time. Intense, raw, sometimes brutal, it is a perfect corrective to our notion of the rural idyll. It is a very short novel that feels vast and broad because of its mythic quality. I would never have imagined I would have become so engrossed in a tale of a sheep-farmer and a badger baiter. It is alert to both the violence and tenderness of existence, in a way few books are.”

Whatever Happened to Billy Parks?

Gareth R Roberts

“Whatever Happened to Billy Parks? is a darkly comical, fantastically engaging and unabashedly sentimental portrait of a once great footballer that grapples with many modern-day preoccupations – alcohol addiction, the effects of fame and how we mythologise our sporting heroes – but never at the price of fine, page-turning storytelling.”

Mrs. Hemingway

Naomi Wood

“Naomi Wood is a wonderful writer. I defy anyone not to enjoy Mrs. Hemingway, charting the tale of the four remarkable women who had the mixed blessing of becoming Hemingway’s wife. Full of gossipy detail, glamorous locations, believable dialogue (Hemingway speaks like we’d imagine Hemingway to speak), relationship truths, and human insight, it is a class act.”

Vanishing

Gerard Woodward

“Vanishing is an ambitious and daring book. It is a profound exploration of the nature of truth and a superb portrayal of a very confused, possibly dodgy, definitely slippery and yet somehow charming narrator. It is also delicious. It is full of cheek, sly humour absurd entertainment and earthy, dirty imagery. I loved every glorious, tricksy word.”

All the Birds, Singing

Evie Wyld

“Brooding and brilliant All the Birds, Singing, is a big, deep and accomplished novel that I would press into the hands of any lover of words, and stories. She excels at creating character, a sense of place and a thrilling tension, infusing every page with a depth of feeling along the way. For a novelist as young as Wyld to display such emotional maturing is extraordinary.”